I woke up this morning feeling good. I really haven’t been sleeping well lately, so I revel in the joys of a good night's sleep. I lie in bed, have a stretch, and slide onto the carpet with all the grace I can muster at 36 weeks pregnant. I brew my cup of tea and tomato on toast (still feeling great) and take great delight sharing it with my friends Kochie and Mel. My morning routine continues as usual as I make my way (well, maybe I waddle a bit) to the bathroom to shower. Upon my undress, I notice all the usual bits I’ve become accustomed to during pregnancy – some wonderfully beautiful, others more grotesque, but as I bend over (and cut off my air supply whilst doing so) to remove my socks I get a monstrous shock at what stands before me. Gasp! Where are my ankles?
Where’d they go? Where are they? I poke at the skin that used to house the neat circular little bone, but all I get is fleshy, fluidy softness. Eek! This can’t be right – for 36 weeks I’ve had a textbook, faultless pregnancy; no morning sickness, no bleeding, no heartburn, only the occasional back ache, some mild dizziness once or twice but definitely no swelling. I tell myself that I surely must be imagining this misshapen anatomy. I sigh deeply; let me start again. Ok, here I go… hip, leg, leg, leg, knee (so far so good), leg, leg, leg, leg, leg, foot! What? Arrghhh!
While I’m absolutely convinced that no pregnancy ailment is pleasant, and have been lucky enough to feel like the blessed Virgin Mary throughout my perfect pregnancy so far, I’m finding my cankles really quite disturbing. They’re like one of those horrific scenes that you know you shouldn’t look at, but can’t seem to turn away from. Ergh!
Right, what to do….? I resolve that my cankles and I are in this together and optimistically select the ‘feet-above-heart’ position for half an hour. Nope. Alright, all is not lost, what about the ‘cold-bucket-of-water’ solution? Nope (and holy crap, I do not recommend this unless it’s an antidote for your legs actually being on fire). ‘Ah ha’ I exclaim in my light bulb moment; compression socks….! Nope. Nothing I do is making any difference to the tree trunks that have formed off my knee caps. It’s now lunch time and my entire day so far has been consumed by the flab that has replaced my nice, neat, previously contoured little ankles. In a moment of panic I check my hands, almost expecting to see plump little manicured savaloys, but thankfully they've been spared.
Then, after half a day of panic, I stop for a moment of rare insight and perspective. It’s not so bad, is it? I don’t have the awful, retching heartburn that many women suffer, I didn’t have any morning sickness, and it’s not like my cankles are causing me discomfort or pain. Actually my normally cold feet feel as though they’re snuggled by the warmth of an open fire. I shouldn’t complain, really, because if this is the worst of my pregnancy disorders, I’m still escaping it quite easily. I opt for a pair of long pants and decide that as long as people don’t point and shriek at my Elphantitis, then I can handle this. I’ll wear my cankles as a badge of honour, in fact, I’ll proudly commit myself to this pregnancy ailment – for the greater good, or something…
So, as I rest on the couch marvelling at the newfound empowerment of pregnancy martyrdom, I think about the billions of women who have gone before me and experienced extraordinary lows during their gestation periods. I tell myself that one day when I’m holding my baby, these cankles were a small – albeit hideous – price to pay for the joyful phenomenon of motherhood.
Now, how to get my shoes on…?